Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ice, ice no money: The Burger King does the ice bucket for charity thing

Your commitment to the ice bucket challenge isn't even close to his

I’m a week into my new job but I’m not going to talk about that since this is the internet and the only thing the internet cares about right now is the ice bucket challenge.
                Well, ice buckets and Ferguson, but I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going on there because I'm a horrible person. Ice buckets, though. I’ve had my eye on those.
                In case you’ve only been following real stories which also means you probably don’t have access to the internet, the ice bucket challenge goes like this: you donate money to ALS research or you dump a bucket of ice water on your head. Then you nominate three people to do the same.
                If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s basically just a souped-up version of this past May’s cold water challenge, which was supposed to raise money for firefighters.
                The ice bucket challenge is sort of like the “Silence of the Lambs” to the cold water challenge’s “Manhunter” in that it raised the bar astronomically, it’s way more popular and few if any folks remember that the original, the cold water challenge, was even a thing.
                I guess if we’re going to continue along with that analogy we can expect a rehashing of the cold water challenge in a few years led by Ed Norton which I will be banned from participating in due to my age. Reference explanation: Movie theater personnel wouldn’t let me see “Red Dragon” because I wasn’t old enough. My parents took me and some friends the following week.
                I was challenged to do both the ice bucket and the cold water deal.
                I ignored it when I was challenged to do the cold water challenge for a couple of reasons, none of which are that I hate firefighters. The biggest one was that I don’t like chain letters and I saw that as a live action chain letter. Instead of me forwarding your typo-filled nonsense to all of my email contacts under penalty of seven years bad luck now I have to dunk myself in cold water and force three others to do the same or risk what? Internet scorn? Not scared.
                Also, I was heading down the shore that weekend and I had no intention of putzing around loading videos to Facebook while I was supposed to be on vacation.
                The whole cold water challenge thing quickly blew over and the internet went back to not giving a shit about anyone whose last name wasn’t Kardashian. All was right. The universe was in balance.
                And then the ALS thing started. As I already said, it raised the bar in every conceivable way. It went from plain old cold water to ice water, it’s lasted much longer, and it’s gotten literally everyone involved.
                If you’re a celebrity and you haven’t been challenged to dump ice water on yourself at this point you need to fire your agent because it means things aren’t going well for you.
                Interesting statistic from NBC News, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised about $42 million for ALS research. During the same time last year, there was about $2 million raised. So yeah, it’s making a difference.
 I was also challenged to do the ice water uh … challenge and this time … I did it.
Despite that, I still think it’s a chain letter wolf in charity’s clothing. I’d rather see people make regular donations to charities they actually care about year in and year out instead of just flooding one deserving group with a bunch of money for three months due to a social media fad and then going back to doing nothing forever.
So why did I do it? Because I was challenged and I felt bad about ignoring another one. Because I don’t see the person who challenged me very often and I didn’t want to ignore him. That’s about it. Admittedly, a desire to do good or raise money for charity factored into my decision exactly 0%. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard.
Also, let’s be honest, despite the king’s ransom raised by this thing, I’d wager that most people participating aren’t donating anything – which makes sense because the original challenge as I understand it was ice water OR donate, not both – and that few if any could tell you one single thing about ALS other than Lou Gehrig had it. Not that they know who that is.   
The good news is I did the challenge wearing a Burger King mask and challenged three fictional characters: Ronnie (Ronald McDonald), Red from the Wendy’s commercials and Jack in the Box. At least that way the chain stopped with me. In theory.
                 In any case, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be my last fundraising fad. When Pies in the Face for Prostate Cancer or Sharpie Unibrows for Social Unrest come along this fall, I won’t be participating. I won’t judge you for jumping in, just like I expect not to be judged for standing on the sidelines.
I’ll just be over there doing whatever charitable things I feel like doing, if any, on my own. Without the need for video evidence or hash tags. Like an un-pied and un-Sharpied leper.

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